WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) joined her colleagues to reintroduce the Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act. The legislation would protect the health and safety of pregnant women and youth by reinstituting the presumption of release of pregnant women and youth in immigration detention, further prohibiting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from shackling pregnant women in its custody, and setting new standards of care and transparency for the treatment of pregnant women and youth.
The bill was first introduced last summer in light of reports of mistreatment of pregnant women in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, and was reintroduced on the heels of a recent Washington Post report about a women in ICE custody whose pregnancy ended in a stillbirth after she went into labor prematurely.
“Detaining pregnant women in poor conditions doesn’t make our country safer—it’s cruel and immoral,” said Harris. “I am committed to ensuring that children and pregnant mothers at the border receive proper medical care and will continue to fight for their human rights.”
Along with Senator Harris, the legislation is cosponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act has been endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Women’s Refugee Commission, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, The Center for Reproductive Rights, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Human Rights Watch, Church World Service, MomsRising, Amnesty International, Anti-Defamation League, March of Dimes, National Council of Jewish Women, Inc, and the National Women’s Law Center.